October is Disability Employment Awareness month. We celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities and also recognize supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices, especially those here in the Monadnock region.

Each year, NH businesses are nominated for the Employment Leadership Award for their inclusive hiring practices. This year Cheshire Medical Center, JOANN, Keene Beauty Academy, Moore Nanotech, Multi Med, and Touchstone Farm were all nominated for this award. We applaud their efforts to build inclusive workplaces. These businesses have created opportunities that assist people with disabilities to develop the skills they need to obtain competitive employment, have adopted inclusive hiring practices that allow people with disabilities to fairly compete for employment, and engage community partners to become a more diverse workplace.

NH’s disability employment rate hovers around 25% -- here in the Monadnock Region our disability employment rate is 33%, with 145 people working an average of 14.4 hours per week, earning an hourly average wage of $10.14.* MDS and its partners are committed to closing this employment gap so that individuals with developmental disabilities who want to work are able to do so.

The NH Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the Institute on Disability (IOD) provide quarterly reports on disability employment data. You can access these reports online at the DHHS website: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/disability-care/employment-individuals-disabilities.

*(Data from DHHS Employment Data report, 12/31/2021)